Mesothelium is the Latin word and the medical expression for the thin layer that covers most of the organs inside the human body. Therefore, the cancer that develops within that particular area is called Mesothelioma.
Typically, people who used to work with asbestos are at a significantly higher risk to develop the disease, as they unavoidably inhaled small dust particles and fiber on their job. Some studies suggest that in some cases even some of their family members did get Mesothelioma, because they came in direct contact with the material, since the person brought it back home in his “contaminated clothes”.
For a long time, there was a debate as to whether or not Mesothelioma could also be linked to smoking, like lung cancer, for instance. And even though there doesn’t seem to be a direct link, smoking definitely increased the risk of developing any asbestos induced cancer and a myriad of other diseases.
You probably already heard about the huge amounts of money involved in cases that were brought to court regarding Mesothelioma class actions. If you want to read more about that topic, please feel free to visit my Mesothelioma website – the link is in the author’s box below.
Most new Mesothelioma diagnoses were made in patients who likely had the disease already for many years or even decades – of course, unbeknownst to the victims. This cancer is a slow-grower, which is probably true for most of the cancers in general.
To give you an example: on October 1st of 2009, I was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma, also know as Kidney Cancer. The tumor was 6.5 cm big and had taken over the majority of my left kidney. Since there was no way to save the organ, it was removed via a radical robotic left laparoscopic nephrectomy.
Given the size of the tumor and its characteristics, the doctors assume that it probably started to form 20 years ago, which would take me back prior to my 20th birthday. You see, some cancers are not easy to diagnose, because it can take many years until the first signs start to surface.
Well, Mesothelioma is no exception. Patients might encounter being short on breath, chest pain and significant and rapid changes of their weight. A doctor will likely order X-rays and a CT scan to get a better picture of the situation. Lastly, only a biopsy can either confirm or not confirm if the patient has developed the cancer.
Unfortunately, this form of cancer has a poor prognosis. However, in the past few years medicine has come a long way and introduced some promising chemotherapy protocols, that eat least give the cancer patient a better quality of life.
The earlier the cancer is being detected, the better are the chances to treat it effectively.